The Repercussions of Online Social Networking

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image reference: http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/15-strategies-educators-can-use-to-stop-cyberbullying/

This week’s topic on sharing information and identity in cyberspace is something that I found to have important information that everyone should know. I will start by relating it to myself and then how it ties in with bullying in social networking sites.

To start off, I have many social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and recently LinkedIn. While doing assignments (such as this one) I find myself opening many“windows” (Turkle, 1999) and cycling through virtual environments (p. 644) such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. I find myself procrastinating on homework and other school related activities while trying to focus on social networks at the same time. I feel the need to multi-task because I don’t always have time to keep up with old friends.  This has not only taken a toll on my grades, but also on my social life. This is in close regards to what Turkle states as the “Goldilocks effects” (2012).  It is an addicting nuisance that I feel obligated to check because it is easy to communicate and see what’s happening in others lives. This helps me with communicating with them and putting minimal effort in order to keep in touch with them.

I was always a big fan of Facebook but always managed to control personal information that went up from when I first started using Facebook when it came out. I managed to control posts, pictures, by tweaking privacy settings or I would only post what would be acceptable in terms of my families’ standard, as they would be part of this social network that we shared. I would “un-tag” myself from pictures that I thought would be inappropriate so others on my Facebook wouldn’t be able to see it but I still could. Being under constant surveillance taught me to be cautious of what I posted online because they did have consequences especially in my life in terms of what my parents knew or didn’t. This was applicable to them and the outside world of who would be able to access my information, I was always wary and would falsify some of it or have it so that the information was broad (nickname instead of full name).

In relation to bullying, social networking sites are a common location in which communication through cyberspace can result in bullying. Youth are at risk of not knowing the dangers that lurk on the web. If a child is being cyber bullied, it can consume their life with endless hours spent on online social networks talking to strangers they call friends. That is because the religiously using online social networking is empowering (Albrechtslund, 2008) and this power can be taken away if someone posts things about the child that hurt them or controls them (blackmailing) because they have all their information, which can affect their mental health. As parents, many have not taught their children to be cautious while surfing the net or that they don’t realize what online social networks their children are using. However, every child needs to be trained to understand what lurks on the internet may hurt them and to not give out personal information or passwords that could be vital for their safety and health (Albrechtslund, 2008).

The moral of this story is while communicating on online social networks, everyone should take precaution to what they reveal about themselves. Any lurkers, predators can find you based off your personal information so limit yourself when filling out those “about me” sections. Also, make time to socialize with people in real life without communicating on social networking sites all the time, because I know I should!

References:

Cyberspace and Identity Sherry Turkle Contemporary Sociology Vol. 28, No. 6 (Nov., 1999), pp. 643-648
http://www.jstor.org.proxy.library.brocku.ca/stable/pdfplus/2655534.pdf?acceptTC=true

Sherry Turkle. The Flight From Conversation. New York Times Sunday Review. April 21, 2012

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/opinion/sunday/the-flight-from-conversation.html?pagewanted=all

Places we don’t want to go: Sherry Turkle at TED2012

http://blog.ted.com/2012/03/01/places-we-dont-want-to-go-sherry-turkle-at-ted2012/

Albrechtslund, A. (2008) “Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance.” First Monday. 13,3.

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4 thoughts on “The Repercussions of Online Social Networking

  1. I think that it’s really great that you ensure to protect your privacy settings on Facebook and other social networking websites. I try to do the same, however I’m not sure if ‘untagging’ photos on Facebook is necessarily the safest way to protect your privacy online and through social networking websites. I also discussed bullying in my post as my blog regards youth and mental health. Cyberbullying can have serious detrimental effects on one’s mental health and that is why it is important to raise awareness regarding this controversial issue. Parents and stakeholders must gain access to education and knowledge regarding the technological world and how their children may be affected by the interactions that take place online through created identities.

  2. I understand about wanting to “un-tag” photos that you think may be inappropriate by family standards, or that you just don’t want anyone to see. This relates to the Albrechtslund (2008) article, and the idea about privacy being subjective. Other people may think there is nothing wrong with the photos, or maybe don’t closely monitor what they are “tagging” when it concerns other people. It can be difficult to avoid those “about me” sections, sometimes I feel a kind of obligation to fill them out when signing up for sites, but then I look back at it and want to edit it, remove things that I don’t think everyone needs to know, by that point though that information is out there and even though I may have removed it from a profile it will be out there forever.

  3. I commend you for taking on the topic of bullying. This is such an important and relevant topic. I work with kids aged 10-18 and I have experienced first-hand the effects of online bullying, What is most peculiar to me is that when kids are being bullied online they do not remove themselves from social media. They are so addicted thus creating an endless cycle of bulling. In regards to the “about me” section on Facebook my stance is that if people add only friends and family these are the people who know everything “about you” so this section should be kept to an absolute minimal. For example, if someone is your friend they would know you work at Home Depot and have brown hair and green eyes. This however is vital information to a lurker and potential predator. I think that since it is so easy to communicate with old friend’s online people can have the perception of a larger social circle than they actually have. Don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful to be able to connect with old friends, families and have long distance communication at ease however I think this should never be a substitute for face to face interaction.

  4. I like the paragraph where you talked about cyber bullying. I agree with you that it is important for parents to teach their children about how easy it is for people to find and see what they post online, and consequently, others online can use this information against them (through blackmail) if they wish to do so. With this said, I think it would be a good idea for teachers to implement safe cyber practices so that at a young age, students learn how to protect themselves while surfing the net.
    I believe I had my first computer when I was about 10 years of age. I used to surf the internet all the time because it was a new and exciting experience but at that time, my parents didn’t fully understand the dangers of cyber space. I remember accessing chat sites and even meeting other people I met online because I thought we could be friends. Luckily, the kids I did meet were my age and lived within my neighbourhood. However, today we hear so much about child pornography and child abductions, which I believe has increased due to social media and internet usage. With this said, I think parents and teachers should take the lead in teaching their children both the risks and benefits of social media and internet usage.

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